More than 2,000 youth working this summer through City's employment programs

The week of June 20 marks the first week of work for more than 2,000 youth, ages 14-21, at jobs through the Citys STEP-UP youth employment program. Youth will be employed by 220 businesses, non-profit organizations, and government offices that are committed to hiring and training Minneapolis teens for the summer. Since 2002, more than 16,000 youth have been placed in summer jobs through City-funded programs.

The STEP-UP program significantly benefits low-income youth and youth of color. In 2010, 89 percent of youth placed in jobs were eligible for free or reduced school lunch, 8 percent were English Language Learners (ELL), and 90 percent were youth of color. Last year, each STEP-UP intern earned $1,440 on average, for a total of $1.9 million.

Youth in STEP-UP are also offered a variety of experiences to provide them a well-rounded training experience that extends beyond the job itself. STEP-UP internships not only include comprehensive work readiness training, but many youth also have opportunities to connect with a business mentor; attend camps, seminars, and college preparation workshops; and participate in classroom training that offered the chance to earn high school credit and keep academic skills sharp.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) provided $50,000 to the program as part of its strategy to help employ, train and educate young people. The agency serves low-income and at-risk youth who may lack the skills that are critical for succeeding on the job.

The City of Minneapolis operates the STEP-UP youth employment and training program in partnership with AchieveMpls, Minnesota Workforce Centers, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and Project for Pride in Living.

The STEP-UP youth employment program is one of the central components of the Minneapolis Promise, an innovative cluster of coordinated efforts designed to eliminate barriers to college for Minneapolis students. The Minneapolis Promise provides young people who commit to completing their education with counseling at the AchieveMpls Career and College Centers, high-quality summer jobs through STEP-UP, and financial assistance for college.

Published Jun. 22, 2011